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May 19, 2010

Supreme Court to look into prison rape case

Woman Prisoner Sent to Solitary for Reporting Rape by Guard | Mother Jones First off, can we all agree that being raped in prison is a terrible thing that no one deserves, despite all the "ha ha you dropped your soap" jokes on tv? If you really do think being sexually assaulted is *part* of the punishment you should really look at the constitution and that whole part that forbids "cruel and unusual punishment." This case is about a woman who was raped by a prison guard and then punished for speaking out against it. It's also about if prisoners can sue prisons and prison guards for illegal actions. And it's also about how badly we need to revise our prison system in this country. Remember, we lock up more of our citizens than any other industrialized nation.
Other accounts were more specific: In the first assault, Ortiz was "fondled" by the guard, who then told her "I'll get you tomorrow, watch." In the second, which took place after she had appealed for help, the guard returned while Ortiz was asleep and raped her. The assaults took place back in 1996. Subsequently, Ortiz sued both prison officials in federal court for doing nothing to protect her from the guard and punishing her instead. A jury awarded her $625,000 in damages.

May 10, 2010

Glenn Beck's followers now taking aim at gay library books

School ban on gay anthology challenged by US free speech organisations | Books | guardian.co.uk
American free speech organisations are fighting a decision by a New Jersey school to remove a critically acclaimed anthology of writing about teenage homosexuality from library shelves after parents described it as vulgar and obscene. Revolutionary Voices, a collection of stories, poems and artwork by young homosexuals, was banned at Rancocas Valley Regional High School last week following a campaign by the local chapter of Glenn Beck's conservative 9.12 project. Local grandmother and 9.12 member Beverly Marinelli told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the book was "pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate", while insisting that she is "not a homophobe". But a coalition of free speech groups has jumped to the book's defence, saying that residents "have no right to impose their views on others or to demand that the contents of the library reflect their personal, religious, or moral values". . . . "No one has to read something just because it's on the library shelf," the letter continued. "No book is right for everyone, and the role of the library is to allow students to make choices according to their own interests, experiences, and family values ... Even if the books are too mature for some students, they will be meaningful to others."

March 15, 2010

Japan considering outlawing provocative drawings of minors, 90% of manga

Standing Up To Proposed Virtual Child Porn Legislation - Manga - Kotaku
The Tokyo Metropolitan government is moving forward on legislation that sets out to ban provocative "visual depictions" of characters who appear to be 18 years-old and younger. And some of Japan's most famous manga creators are fighting it. Manga artists Go Nagai, Tetsuya Chiba and Machiko Satonaka appeared at the Tokyo Government Office on March 15 to show their opposition to the proposed legislation. Nagai and Chiba are two of the most well-known living mangaka (manga creators) with Nagai responsible for magical girl manga Cutie Honey and robot manga Mazinger Z and Chiba for iconic boxing manga Ashita no Joe. Shojo manga creator Machiko Satonaka received a Lifetime Works and Cultural Activities award from the Japanese government. All three are big time, mainsteam Japanese mangaka, and their opposition to this proposed legislation shows just how unpopular it is with the manga industry. Chiba told those gathered that the proposed legislation can be "freely" interpreted and would affect manga character "despite no living beings being hurt". These mangaka are standing up for their artistic freedom.

January 25, 2010

A culture in decline: "'Oral sex' definition prompts dictionary ban in US schools"

'Oral sex' definition prompts dictionary ban in US schools | Books | guardian.co.uk
Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex". Merriam Webster's 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the "sexually graphic" entry is "just not age appropriate", according to the area's local paper. The dictionary's online definition of the term is "oral stimulation of the genitals". "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.